Interview: Kit Power

The Bookie Monster interviews Kit Power, author of The Loving Husband and the Faithful Wife.

Kit Power lives in the UK and writes fiction that lurks at the boundaries of the horror, fantasy, and thriller genres, trying to bum a smoke or hitch a ride from the unwary.

In his secret alter ego of Kit Gonzo, he also performs as front man (and occasionally blogs) for death cult and popular beat combo The Disciples Of Gonzo.

Give us a quick bio. A little about yourself, your work and how you got into writing.

It’s all the fault of Stephen King and distance learning. I had to study a management qualification for work, and it was hard work, but I learned something very valuable – I had 8 – 10 hours a week I was wasting watching crap TV. I vowed not to go back to that after study, that I’d spend the time doing something I wanted to do, something productive. And then I read ‘On Writing’ around the same time, and when Stephen King wrote ‘Do you need permission? Very well, I give you permission to write.’ I’ve sat down almost every evening since and written. It’s been fantastic.

What five words best describe you? 

Behind you with a knife.

Do you have a most embarrassing moment?

No, I have a top 1000. Which I will not be sharing.

Are there any critiques in particular that you just can’t seem to shake?

Nope, I really value crits and assimilate them to make myself a better writer. Opinions, by definition, can’t be ‘wrong’ or invalid, so I just evaluate, and make changes if they need to be made. I don’t think you get good by being precious. I’m also pretty good at deciding for myself if an issue ‘matters’ – you can’t please everyone, so you’d better please yourself.

If you were to create a writing soundtrack, what artists would be on it? 

Right now, only one – Sleep, with the track Dopesmoker. It’s over an hour long and great brain wallpaper. I’ve written a ton of stuff over the last month to that. My novel was written entirely to ‘Rage against the Machine’ and ‘The Battle of Los Angeles’ albums though, so should probably give props where due there.

How do you come up with the character names in your books?

D1 I’ll use names of real people that they are templates of, if that helps me keep track. Come D2, I change them around though. I try and keep it random and realistic sounding – I hate it when someone’s name has significance, foreshadowing, whatever. Life doesn’t work like that.

How many people have you killed off over your career as a writer? Ever offed someone off then kicked yourself for it?

Quite a few. I like extreme situations, it’s where a lot of the juice is. And there’s no edge if no-one ever goes over it, if you can dig it. But I have no regrets. I’ve been sad about it sometimes, but that’s different – seeing someone you’ve come to love a bit die sucks, even if they are made up. As Doctor Who fans (re)learn every few years.

Have you ever written yourself or people you know as a character in one of your books?

Yeah – my first story had a protagonist that was basically me with some tiny cosmetic differences, albeit facing circumstances I’ve never been near. And there’s a couple of people in the novel who had real life templates, though I’m happy to report they took on lives of their own once the excrement started hitting the air con, which is always gratifying.

Do you laugh at your own jokes as you write them?

Not when writing, but there’s a line in my soon-to-be-published short story, ‘The Debt’ (which is being paired with novella ‘The Loving Husband and the Faithful Wife and is out on 25th Jan 2014 – smooth plug or what?) that made my wife and I laugh out loud over as we were re-reading the final draft. I think when I’m writing it’s too in the moment for me to laugh.

Do you write full time or do you keep a day job?

Day job pays the bills. It’s a good job. But I’d rather be doing this…

Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

I have a small group of critical readers who read my D2’s and give me feedback. They give good, fair, but tough and constructive criticism, which is exactly what I need. In fact, I often get two emails, the first where they talk about any and all issues, and then after I reply thanking them, I get a gusher that tells me they loved it. Which is the order you want it in, because otherwise you don’t get to hear the legitimate issues, and you need them. I’m so lucky to have people who I can trust to be honest. It also helps that they are all wicked smart people. Of course.

What was your favorite moment when writing your book?

‘The Debt’ came from the closing image, and working out how to get there, and I was amazed and a little spooked at how easy the story was to write – it definitely felt like channeling rather than writing. A great feeling.

What do you do when you are not writing?

Try not to suck at being a father and husband. Work. Sneak five minutes on the PS3 or the virtual poker felt.

Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

‘The Loving husband…’ is pure imagination – I saw the premise as a writing challenge, found the voice, and went from there. Again, with ‘The Debt’ the end came first, but I did use my experience of working in an East End pub in my 20’s to help with the voice and characters there. I never knew a Tel, exactly, but I knew people enough like him to be able to build him without too much problem.

What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?

‘Read a lot. Write a lot’. – Stephen King, On Writing. Sorry to be a broken record.

OK, so, what’s next, do you already have a new project in the works? 

Constantly.  Right now, it’s finish D1 of my latest story (The Truth), get an older one to D3 for copyediting, then The Big One – editing the novel, which I’m dreading.

Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, what do you do about it?

Very rarely. I ran out of steam on the novel a couple of times, but normally it just meant I needed to do a bit of plotting, figure out what needed to happen in what order, get a basic plan down. I had the same with my first story, which was a novella, and at the time the longest thing I’d written. And ‘The Truth’ is like pulling teeth at the moment – I love the idea, but for some reason, blerg.

Did any specific author(s) motivate you to begin writing?

Guess. Though I have to shout out to Orson Scott Card too for Ender’s Game – I abhor the man’s politics, but he’s an incredible writer.

In ten words or less
  • Are you a morning person or a night owl?
    • Night owl by choice. But I have a 4 year old, so…
  • Biggest fear?
    • Going deaf.
  • Favorite TV Show?
    • Doctor Who. Deadwood and Sopranos tied for second.
  • Happiest moment in your life to date?  
    • My wife saying yes.
  • If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
    • Flight, superstrength. The power to move you.
  • If you could choose your last meal, what would it be?
    • Big assed steak and fries.
  • If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
    • Big assed steak and fries.
  • If you realized that you got a free item by accident after leaving a store, would you go back and pay for it?
    • Yes, if it was more than a pound or so value.
  • How would your friends describe you in 3 words 
    • That annoying git.
  • Last thing you dressed up as for Halloween?
    • The Crow.
  • Mac or PC?
    • PC. Because I like fun, and fun means games.
  • Oreo’s…Bite into the entire cookie or deconstruct it?
    • I’m a deconstructer.
  • Quirk that annoys your spouse/friend:  
    • Far, far too many.
  • The zombie apocalypse has begun. What zombie fighting badass would you want on your team? 
    • Batman. Nothing bad can happen if Batman has your back.
  • What is one thing that you can’t live without?
    • Oxygen is pretty important.
  • What is the craziest thing you have ever done?
    • Smoked for 10 years.
  • What is your biggest pet peeve?
    • People I disagree with politically. Because they are just WRONG.
  • Who is the most famous person you have met?
    • Jon Pertwee.
  • Worst job ever?
    • London pub barman.
  • Would you rather be homeless for a year or be in jail for a year?
    • Homeless and it’s not even close.

Where can readers stalk you?